Which is more effective, paid search or organic search campaigns? This has been a life-long debate between SEO and PPC specialists. Each has it’s own pros and cons which is always the source of the discussion. Organic rankings requires more time while paid rankings require more money. But why the debate? Why not capitalize on the strength of each marketing channel? Why not have an integrated strategy for paid and organic campaigns?

An Integrated Strategy

To rank organically for a competitive keyword especially when you’re site is new is next to impossible. Even with sites who have been online for years, maintaining good rankings for competitive keywords is a challenge. As the keyword becomes more competitive, the chance of getting to the top 3 positions becomes less. This is where you leverage the advantage of having a paid search campaign. Having a campaign targeting the organically competitive keywords gives you more real estate and thus more of the impression share.

On the other hand, as a keyword becomes more competitive, it gets more expensive as well in terms of cost per click. This is where you leverage your higher organic rankings. If you have managed to get good organic rankings for competitive keywords over months or even years of SEO, you can opt not to compete for the top paid positions, lowering down your PPC cost.

Both paid search and organic search campaigns can also share valuable data with each other, like what keywords are bringing in traffic and conversions. You can also compare how each channel perform against each other. This gives you insight for both paid and organic search campaign optimization.

Preparing for Paid and Organic Search Integration

The first step is connecting the three most important accounts. Adwords, Analytics and Search Console (Webmaster Tools). You will need administrative access to all three by the way. First step is shown below, in the Adwords admin panel.

lingking adwords, analytics and search console accounts - paid and organic search integrated strategy

The next step is from your Google Analytics admin panel. Please see screen shots below:

linking analytics to adwords - paid and organic search integrated strategy


linking analytics to search console


After connecting the three accounts, give them some time to gather data. This depends on how much traffic you get. After a few days or week, login to your Adwords account. go to the dimensions tab and on the dropdown choose Paid & Organic. Please see screen shot below:

paid vs organic keywords traffic


You now have a side-by-side report, comparing performance of your paid and organic keywords. This is a lot of actionable data. This tells you the organic queries that are bringing in traffic to your business.  How well do you rank organically? How much traffic do your rankings bring in to you site? Can you augment the performance of your organic rankings by running a paid campaign? On the other hand, how are your paid keywords performing versus your organic rankings? Can you use the paid data to help focus on converting keywords for your content marketing strategy?

Now instead of debating what works better, paid search or organic search, why not have the best of both worlds?